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Game Recap: Kevin Durant dazzles in Suns debut, Phoenix wins, 105-91

The Suns took care of business on the road in Kevin Durant’s debut.

Phoenix Suns v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

It still doesn’t feel real.

Superstar Kevin Durant made his NBA debut with the Phoenix Suns tonight, and it went just about as well as expected in limited minutes.

In his Phoenix debut, Durant posted 23 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 blocks on 10-15 shooting in 26 minutes of action. The Suns led by as many as 20 points and were in control throughout the evening against a suddenly-hot Hornets squad.

Phoenix Suns v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

Plenty of Suns fans made the trip out to Charlotte and produced an environment that felt like it was almost a Phoenix home game at times. The buzz is real.

The Hornets put up a fight. Former Suns fan favorite Kelly Oubre Jr. played a major part in that effort with his 26 points keeping Charlotte hanging around until the Suns pulled away for good in the 4th.

Veterans Terry Rozier and Gordon Hayward also contributed and tried to fight them back into it, but they just didn’t have enough offensively. Phoenix’s defense was terrifying.

Quick Hits

The Suns had the advantage in assists, turnovers, and all shooting percentages across the board. That is typically a recipe for a convincing win no matter who you are playing.

The rebound battle went to Charlotte by six, and they grabbed 12 offensive boards (compared to Phoenix’s five) which should be a talking point for Monty Williams and his staff.

Key Performers

  • Devin Booker — 37 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks on 15/26 FG
  • Kevin Durant — 23 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks on 10/15 FG
  • Deandre Ayton — 16 points, 16 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block on 7/10 FG
  • Terry Rozier — 20 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists on 7/18 FG
  • Kelly Oubre Jr. — 26 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist on 9/24 FG

First Half

Phoenix jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead after Durant’s first bucket as a member of the Suns, which came off a layup after attacking the basket.

After a few defensive stops, including an impressive block by Durant, the Suns tallied on five more points to extend the lead to 9-0 leading to a Charlotte timeout.

Having two 7 footers as mobile as Durant and Ayton are on the defensive side is going to be fun. This Phoenix defense has a lot more potential than the talking heads will give them credit for.

The Hornets' offense found their groove and got back into things led by Rozier and Hayward cutting into the Suns’ lead. It was 17-16 heading into the next timeout break.

Booker’s balanced attack in the opening quarter got everyone else involved and the ‘Suns' defense did a nice job holding the Hornets to just 22 points.

Durant continued to assert himself in the second quarter, getting to his spot and knocking down shots over defenders with ease.

Deandre Ayton became the first Sun to reach 1,000 points on the season with his bucket midway through the 2nd quarter.

Booker substituted in for Durant in the second as the two were staggered and took turns torturing the Hornets’ defense.

At the half, the Suns led it by a comfortable amount.

Second Half

The second half had more of a choppy flow to it from an offensive standpoint for each team. That’s expected when integrating as many new pieces as the Suns are.

Durant and Booker did what we expect at this point, essentially taking turns tearing the Hornets up in the midrange. They also had this fun exchange on the break.

Chris Paul struggled to find his shot in this one, going just 1/8 from the field. He also chipped in with 11 assists on the evening.

His primary concern was managing the game and touches between his two stars and he did just that, ensuring they got their looks.

The Suns closed things out with ease after toying with the Hornets a bit. They never really seemed to be in danger despite a few runs from Charlotte.

It was an off night for CP3 and the Suns got beat on the glass but it simply did not matter. The mid-range mafia is here.

On to the next one.

Star of the Night

Devin Booker — 37 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks on 15/26 FG

Phoenix Suns v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

Up Next?

Suns @ Bulls — Friday at 6 pm AZ time

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